Accused Norway shooter 'unaffected' by killings
CTV News.ca Staff
Published Monday, July 25, 2011 8:59PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 5:28AM EDT
The man accused in the bombing and shooting attacks in Norway appears "unaffected" by the horrific events, the prosecutor in the case said hours after authorities revised the overall death toll to 76.
Anders Behring Breivik has confessed to last Friday's Oslo bombing and mass shooting at Utoya island. However, he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him in court Monday on the basis that he believes he should not be held criminally responsible for his actions.
Breivik said the attacks were to protest Muslim immigration.
Prosecutor Christian Hatlo told reporters Monday that the accused was calm and "seemed unaffected by what has happened." According to Hatlo, Breivik has told police that he does not expect to be released from custody.
Also Monday, police announced a reduced overall death toll Monday in the attacks that targeted a government district in central Oslo and a youth camp.
Police spokesperson Oystein Maeland said 68 people died in the mass shooting spree on Utoya island, a decrease from the 86 fatalities that were reported in the immediate aftermath of Friday's violence.
They have also confirmed an additional death from the bombing outside the government headquarters in Oslo, which raises the death toll in that attack to eight.
Maeland said authorities had concluded that the higher fatality figure from Utoya island was mistakenly calculated while police and rescuers were dealing with the twin crises.
The total number of dead in Norway now stands at 76, a figure that includes the additional bombing fatality.
During Monday's court proceedings, Judge Kim Heger ordered Breivik to be kept in isolation for the next four weeks.
Heger had ordered the hearing closed to the public.
While Breivik sought to keep his hearing open, the judge said Monday's hearing needed to be conducted out of public view because it "could quickly lead to an extraordinary and very difficult situation in terms of the investigation and security."
But after the 35-minute hearing concluded, the media was briefed about what Breivik told the court.
Breivik told the court he had launched Friday's attacks "not to kill as many people as possible but to give a strong signal that could not be misunderstood that as long as the Labour Party keeps driving its ideological lie and keeps deconstructing Norwegian culture and mass importing Muslims then they must assume responsibility for this treason," according to the English translation of Heger's ruling that was read out after the hearing.
The accused also alluded to two other "cells" of his network, a claim that police are now investigating as well as reports that Breivik may have travelled in Britain in 2002 to meet with other far-right individuals.
The judge ordered that Breivik be held in isolation for four weeks, during which time he will be unable to receive mail or communicate with others. He will be held for at least another four weeks after that, at which point a trial date is likely to be set.
There was tension surrounding Monday's hearing, including moments when Norwegians who gathered outside the courthouse hit the windows of a car believed by some to be carrying Breivik inside.
Breivik seeks to disperse hateful message
An online manifesto has made it clear that Breivik is seeking a platform to broadcast a plea for Europe to be saved from what he describes as Muslim colonization.
Breivik, who has previously said Friday's killings were mere "marketing" for his call-to-action, indicated to his lawyer and through his manifesto that he wants Norwegians to retake their country from Muslims and other immigrants.
CTV's Omar Sachedina said police are still combing through Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto, which also describes how he planned Friday's twin attacks.
"He mentions bombs, he mentions explosives, he also rambles about his anti-immigration and anti-Muslim policies," Sachedina told CTV's Canada AM from Oslo on Monday.
"He says that Norway historically has been inclusive but has been colonized by Muslims. So this is something that he is against."
While Norway is a country known for its tolerance, foreign aid outreach and for being the home of the Nobel Peace Prize, it is also a place that has remained largely homogeneous over the centuries, with the vast majority of its population being made up of ethnic Norwegians.
The CIA World Factbook reports that as of 2007, only two per cent of Norway's citizens were of non-European background, while more than 94 per cent were of Norwegian ethnicity.
Washington University professor John Bowen, who studies Islam and law in Southeast Asia and Europe, said Norway does not have a long history of Muslims immigrating across its borders, compared to other European countries like England and France.
"Those larger countries have had Muslims coming in for many decades and they came from places that were former colonies," Bowen told CTV News Channel by telephone from London.
"A place like Norway, or Sweden or Denmark, has a much more recent set of Muslim immigrants coming from many different countries, where they've had no previous knowledge of the language."
As a result, Bowen said these changing immigration patterns have created some tensions within these countries, though most mainstream political leaders remain committed to upkeeping the open and tolerant nature of their cultures.
No life sentences, death penalty in Norway
Sachedina said the typical maximum sentence for criminal offences in Norway is 21 years. The country does not use capital punishment or life sentences in its justice system.
But prosecutors can seek longer terms of incarceration in "exceptional circumstances," Sachedina said.
Police said Monday they were notified back in March that Breivik had made a suspicious chemical purchase, but they did not have enough evidence to follow-up on the information.
Police chief Janne Kristiansen said Breivik paid 120 kroner, or about $22, for an undisclosed chemical product from a Polish company. Kristiansen told national broadcaster NRK that the transaction was legal, but was flagged because the company was being watched by authorities.
Since Friday's attacks, police have also been seen at the home of Breivik's father in southern France.
French police confirmed a house in Couranel, France belongs to Jens Breivik, the father of the suspect in the Norway attacks. Police, however, did not provide details about their activities at the home.
News reports have said Jens Breivik was estranged from his son and that the two men have not spoken in many years.
Jens Breivik gave an interview to Swedish tabloid Expressen in which he said he was ashamed by the alleged actions of his son and wishes that he had killed himself.
"I don't feel like his father," he said. "How could he just stand there and kill so many innocent people and just seem to think that what he did was okay? He should have taken his own life too. That's what he should have done."
With files from The Associated Press